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History

The Founding Mothers

Catherine Lvoff founded RBR Inc. in 1979 following a visit to family in the Soviet Union.

Encountering state-mandated atheism in person, rather than through literature, had a profound effect on her. When her relatives asked her for ‘spiritual food’ in the form of books and pamphlets, rather than regular food and clothing, she knew what she had to do, and the result was RBR Inc.
Since the beginning, RBR Inc. translated into Russian, published and distributed books by such great spiritual fathers as Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. John Meyendorff, Fr. Thomas Hopko and Bishop Anthony of Sourozh to a large audience in the Soviet Union. This was made possible by the tireless fundraising of Catherine, and to the generosity of our donors.

Today, our geography has grown to include Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and China. Beginning in 2022 we will expand our mission to include converts to Orthodoxy in the US, as well as refugees coming from Ukraine and exiles from Russia.

In 1991, Catherine Lvoff fell asleep in the Lord, having accomplished what many thought was an impossible mission. Yet the mission continues and continues to evolve.

The reins of RBR Inc. were taken over by Sophie Koulomzin, a renowned Russian Orthodox author and educator. Her father, Serge Shidlovsky, was the last Vice President of the Czar’s Duma. Her book, “History of the Orthodox Church”, was used as a standard text for decades.
Due to her immeasurable impact on church life in the field of religious education in the US and abroad, she joined the staff of St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 1954, where many of her former students went on to become Orthodox bishops in Japan, Alaska and Lebanon, as well as bishops, priests, and laymen from all Orthodox jurisdictions in the US.

In 1970 St. Vladimir’s Seminary awarded her the Degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa. Prior to her retirement from St. Vladimir’s, Sophie Koulomzin authored “Our Church and Our Children”, arguably the book for which she is best known. At the age of 77, she wrote her memoirs entitled, “Many Worlds: A Russian Life”. During her final decade of life, she wrote the books that would cement her position as one of the greatest 20th century Russian Orthodox authors and educators: “Lives of Saints, a church history for young people” as well as a children’s catechism and prayer book.
Sophie Koulomzin passed away at the age of 96 in 2000.

The mantle was passed on to Vera Bouteneff.

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